Category Archives: Music and Dance

Turning 26…and reminiscing about being 19

Apparently every 7 years or so, we seek some major changes our lives. And I’m not just talking about our married lives/relationships, a la the famed Seven Year Itch. I’ll be turning 26 soon, and I certainly feel like I’m due for some major changes this year. Maybe last year was a preparation, a lesson in taking on more responsibility? (Though I certainly did my best to shirk this responsibility through a lot of temper tantrums). The last seven years were definitely shaped by a lot things I did when I was 19. I guess for many people, especially if they go through the school-uni thing, it’s an age where you come out of your shell, explore yourself and your world, make new friends and enjoy your maturing relationships with existing friends. I loved being 19.

At 19 I hitched-hiked with a friend from Melbourne to Sydney for the first time.

At 19 I was in my second year of uni, finally starting to overcome my shyness and make friends who actually shared my interests.

At 19 I was deep into political activism on issues that really burnt me. These issues still burn, but since then I’ve turned into an average Joe Bloe and politics deludes me a bit. Just a bit. Still, it was this activism that pushed me to open my mind, try new things, learn alternative theories about the way the world is organised, and encouraged me to understand the lives and perspectives of people who may be very different to me. And it gave me confidence…in making new friends, relationships and learning to stand by my principles rather than being kicked around.

At 19 I met L 🙂 Although it would be another 3 years until we got together.

At 19 I worked in my first non-chain store job where I wasn’t screamed at, ripped-off, and actually given responsibility.

At 19 I learnt to drive.

At 19 I was totally rocking wharehouse parties and squat parties.

OK, maybe not totally rocking. But I was certainly rocking the dance floor when the DJ played Like a Prayer and Billie Jean, while all the hippies boo-ed and demanded the trippy alternative stuff (whatever that was)!

Without these opportunities to explore my interests, meet new people and just have fun, the ensuing years would have been so different. I would have turned out so different. Turned 26 a different person…

I wouldn’t have had the confidence and esteem to travel by myself in South Asia the following year. To think the first time I went overseas on my own was to India for a year! If I had my time again, I would’ve tried to fit in a ‘practice run’ somewhere. Like, maybe in New Zealand 😉

Being young and having fun is all good. I still love travelling and I still love partying and these aren’t the changes I envision in the next 7 years. Indeed, I’m quite fortunate that my work involves a lot of travelling. But I think the changes will come in my relationships. Now that I have some distance from the insanity of last year, I realise how serious – S.E.R.I.O.U.S – life can get. How commitment in a relationship also involves a whole lotta responsibility. How selfish I can become when pushed to the limit.

Being in my relationship was all-consuming for most of last year. Just getting through each day seemed to take up all my physical, emotional and intellectual energy. I don’t think I’ve ever been through anything so intense, for such a prolonged period of time. We’re not completely out of the woods, but I’ve stuck my neck out long enough to reflect a bit. And that major shift I’m sensing…? Maybe turning 19 and the seven years since then have been about discovering myself, my potentials and my limitations. No doubt I’ll continue to do this. But I hope the next 7 years are not just  me me me. I don’t just want to learn to be myself, I want to learn to be in a relationship, somehow radically decentre my self-centredness. I’m not ready to do something  ‘out there’, like have kids, not quite yet (although I hope this will happen in the next 7 years!). But I’m certainly ready to start a family – and really be there – for the partner and family I already have.

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Filed under About, Music and Dance

Parents, Partner and Heartache: Let it Be

So the parental visit…How dramatic hey?

But for all that moaning and groaning, all the emotions and confusion and heartache, there have been some good things that have come out of the last couple of weeks:

1. L and I have had long long chats and he’s learning much more about recognising and handling certain emotions

2. For the most part, I controlled my temper. Yes, I had to in front of my parents, because I was trying to hide the truth. But I guess that’s the point: there are times when I feel so confused and full of rage even I don’t know where it will lead to. The last two week’s prove I do have the ability to control my feelings if needed. So to ‘lose’ control of them, to hurl abuse at L with the excuse that I’m too emotional to control myself, is just that – it’s an excuse, and it’s abuse.

When I wrote my last two posts, I was full of emotion after all those intense conversations with my parents.  It was only a couple of days later that the full impact hit: at the time when we most needed to get my parents on-side, at one of the few opportunities we’re going to have to include them in a positive way in our lives, it all fell apart.

And I wanted to scream. I wanted to scream at L “how could you fuck up so badly” (especially when it was going so well).

But I remembered our talk, I remembered how mortified he is feeling about the whole thing, I remembered to remove myself from a situation where I was obviously loosing my temper. So I went for a drive alone and screamed out everything. And then I realised that it’s probably not the safest thing to be doing, screaming and driving. So I stopped sreaming, calmed myself down, and went home. End of anger.

Just goes to show – my logical side can sometimes rein in my emotional and physical responses. I needed badly to prove this to myself.

3. Blogging as helped! It has helped in expressing my need for support. And in actually getting that support through all your kind responses and suggestions. Thank you 🙂

Now that I’ve admitted I need support, I realise just how much I’ve isolated myself over the last 6 months. I didn’t want to talk to any of my friends, I didn’t want to go out…except for starting a blog and commenting voraciously on other people’s blogs, I practically dug myself into a hole. Now wonder I’ve been feeling so trapped!

I’ve also stopped all the activities that usually give me some emotional relief. I miss my music. I’ve never been particularly good at it, but I sorely miss having a piano in the house to smash out a tune when I’m feeling bad. I miss dancing and laughing and going out with friends for a coffee. I miss drawing and painting and reading my favourite novels.

This will be my challenge for the rest of the year – to start becoming myself again!

We’re obviously in damage control with my parents. I’ve made some attempts at reaching out to my dad, but I can’t report on much success just yet. We’re just going to have to let it be for now, let time ebb away some of the hurt and work some of it’s healing magic.

I’ve always found this song comforting, especially when things feel tough. I like this version from the film ‘Across the Universe’ – it’s so beautiful and dramatic (especially the start!). What I’m going through obviously doesn’t compare to wars and race riots. But it helps to dramatise my feelings write now, in a way that is positive and constructive rather than destructive.

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Filed under About, Blogging, Family Acceptance, Music and Dance, Parents

How Do You Get a Guy to Dance?

L comes from one of those African countries with a reputation for deadly booty-shakin, feet-groovin funky tunes, whose music and dance culture is rapidly growing in global popularity, particularly via South America. Whenever we’re out and people realise where he’s from – and that he refuses, point blank, to dance – I never fail to elicit sympathy and surprise from friends. “A [Insert African country here]-ican you doesn’t dance?!”

Yes it turns out tv lied to us: not all Africans groove and shake the night away.

Now I’m the first person to admit that people from foreign cultures are in no way obliged to fulfil our misguided stereotypes of them…

But geez I wish L would dance! Even just a little.

I’m no party animal in any definition of the term. I prefer to spend my time reading, writing, camping, hiking or any other activity that’ll set me down at the end of the day with either a good book or a good feed. But I love dancing and loved clubbing in my late teens and early twenties: The buzz of the music, the pulsating beats, the thrill of busting it out with randoms who I was too shy to actually speak to. Dancing is human bodily communication par excellence – you can be anonymous yet connected. And as a withdrawn and socially awkward 20 year old in a club at 3 am, it’s hardly surprising that I got such a high out of it, completely unassisted by alcohol or drugs. In fact, I can still dance non-stop til sunrise on water alone.

Which is why I’m a bit bummed that L refuses to dance, or even go out most of the time. We’ve been in a new city for a while now but I still haven’t made too many friends to go out with, and I was hoping L would morph into my partner in crime. Unfortunately, things haven’t quite gone to plan. The only time I’ve seen him on the dance floor is when a friend asked him to look after her mum, who was visiting over the weekend and had joined us at the pub.

(Which makes me think…maybe I should drag him out clubbing with my mum when she visits….and then they’d both get dancing…and maybe my mum would actually give him a chance…but that’s a story for another post!).

When I recently complained about his lack of enthusiasm for a good night out, L gave his usual Oscar-the-grouch-reply – “Bah, I hate dancing. Go without me”. He mentioned that his ex-girlfriend, before he moved to Australia, would also always complain about his refusal to dance. “I used to go up to other guys at the club and ask them to dance with her.” He twinkles remembering. “Nobody ever said no, they’d have big grins on their faces”.

Then confusion slights his eyes.

“But I don’t know, she would always just get annoyed with me anyway”.

Sounds like she doesn’t know how luck she was. At least he took the girl out!

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Filed under Cultural Difference, Music and Dance

COOL Vs DAGGY

I’m a dag: a nerdy, wordy, bookish kinda gal who spends more time than she should dancing to 80s and 90s pop. (Ahem…thank-goodness-this-blog-is-annonymous!)

One thing I love about being with L, albeit on a rather superficial level, is the fact that he can’t tell the difference between indy-folk-‘local’ music (uber cool) and American-style-big-named pop (not cool). I’m not sure whether this is a cultural or personal thing, but to L, all Western music sounds pretty similar.

This is great news for me because it means that while L is on the computer studying, I can thump out the back of his chair to the likes of ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ blasting from YouTube. And all this without (I think…?!) losing his respect.

Dancing to me is fantastic stress relief. I’m not sure though, how this covert 80s and 90s fetish would go down if I was with a too-cool-for-school-Radiohead-loving guy (with all due love and respect to my friends :)).

L has always been genuine with me, without ever feeling the need to prove himself. Maybe this is all a part of being intimate – attracting and loving each other at our daggiest, rather than impressing each other at our wittiest.

Not that L is daggy. His taste in music is much more meaningful than mine – e.g. Zimbabwean folk songs recounting exchanges between sorcerers and healers (how can Cindy Lauper compete with that?!). And while he puts up with my not-so-groovy moves, he sure as hell draws the line at my not-so-in-tune-tunes:

Me (getting into bed): Caaan you feeeel the looove toniiiight.

L: Stop making noise darling.

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Filed under Cultural Difference, Music and Dance